Sebastian Junger is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of THE PERFECT STORM, FIRE, A DEATH IN BELMONT, WAR, TRIBE and FREEDOM. As an award-winning journalist, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and a special correspondent at ABC News, he has covered major international news stories around the world, and has received both a National Magazine Award and a Peabody Award. Junger is also a documentary filmmaker whose debut film “Restrepo”, a feature-length documentary (co-directed with Tim Hetherington), was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
“Restrepo,” which chronicled the deployment of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, is widely considered to have broken new ground in war reporting. Junger has since produced and directed three additional documentaries about war and its aftermath. “Which Way Is The Front Line From Here?”, which premiered on HBO, chronicles the life and career of his friend and colleague, photojournalist Tim Hetherington, who was killed while covering the civil war in Libya in 2011. “Korengal” returns to the subject of combat and tries to answer the eternal question of why young men miss war. “The Last Patrol”, which also premiered on HBO, examines the complexities of returning from war by following Junger and three friends–all of whom had experienced combat, either as soldiers or reporters–as they travel up the East Coast railroad lines on foot as “high-speed vagrants.”
Junger has also written for magazines including Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Outside and Men’s Journal. His reporting on Afghanistan in 2000, profiling Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, who was assassinated just days before 9/11, became the subject of the National Geographic documentary “Into the Forbidden Zone,” and introduced America to the Afghan resistance fighting the Taliban.
Sebastian’s New Book: FREEDOM
Throughout history, humans have been driven by the quest for two cherished ideals: community and freedom. The two don’t coexist easily: we value individuality and self-reliance, yet are utterly dependent on community for our most basic needs. In this intricately crafted and thought-provoking book, Sebastian Junger examines this tension that lies at the heart of what it means to be human.
For much of a year, Junger and three friends—a conflict photographer and two Afghan War vets—walked the railroad lines of the east coast. It was an experiment in personal autonomy, but also in interdependence. Dodging railroad cops, sleeping under bridges, cooking over fires and drinking from creeks and rivers, the four men forged a unique reliance on one another.
In Freedom, Junger weaves his account of this journey together with primatology and boxing strategy, the history of labor strikes and Apache raiders, the role of women in resistance movements, and the brutal reality of life on the Pennsylvania frontier. Written in exquisite, razor-sharp prose, the result is a powerful examination of the primary desire that defines us.